It’s official – I’m headed North to Grand Forks, North Dakota next year to attend the University of North Dakota’s aerospace program.


With a fleet of over 120 aircraft including airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial systems, the University of North Dakota has the nation’s largest collegiate flight program. Its 1,000+ students fly over 200,000 hours annually.

Other than aviation, UND has roughly 14,000 students and over 10 schools within the university. Programs range from arts and engineering, to business, nursing, and medicine. That gives aviation students an awesome opportunity to take classes or pursue majors in other fields.

Grand Forks sees four full seasons of weather, with warm summers and brutally cold winters. It’s a great place to train in all conditions, with students learning to fly and manage aircraft in some of the harshest conditions available. When you think about it, those conditions can be a real benefit. It prepares you to handle the worst of the worst, giving you the confidence to fly in some pretty terrible weather.

North Dakota Winters

North Dakota Winters

My high school hasn’t ever graduated a student to the University of North Dakota. It’s 1,200 miles and a nearly 24 hour drive away from home, so I’ll be in a completely new environment.

Lining Up For Takeoff

Lining Up For Takeoff

Day one is August 24th,

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

21 Responses

  1. Colin Summers


    Join NEXUS as soon as possible. You’re close enough for border crossings into Canada. (I think you need to join CanPASS, too.)

  2. Karlene

    Swayne, this is wonderful!! You are going to have so much fun, learn lots, and be one step closer to your dream! Enjoy!

  3. Anne

    Congratulations on your focus, hard work, and sense of adventure to immerse yourself in a completely new environment!

  4. Randy Cabrera

    Congratulations! I’m heading to North shore Community College, Massachusetts to pursue my career as an aviator.

  5. Briggs

    Good that you were able to find a college with the most essential ingredient…a hockey team.


    Enjoy and fly safe!

  6. Brett

    Congratulations! If at all possible try to go the engineering route, it will be hard but worth it for the best total qualifications and best backup to professional pilot. Plus you can be a test pilot if you want..,

  7. Mark Sickle

    Congrats Swayne. What degree are you pursuing? Pilot? ATC? I’m a retired air traffic controller working as a radar instructor at the FAA Academy in OKC. Maybe we’ll see you here in the next few years if you choose this great career path.

  8. Jish

    This is awesome Swayne!
    The first time I ever visit your website, and it turns out I will be in the same class as your’s!

    I’ll be majoring in aviation management. 😀

  9. Ryan F

    wow that looks awesome, I just discovered this blog, and I eagerly await hearing more about this. I’m the same age, and I’ll be pursuing a similar career path at a similar school- I can’t wait to see the similarities and differences. I’ll be attending Embry-Riddle Daytona Class of 2019, I can’t believe I’m only finding your blog now.

  10. Fawn Longridge

    Wow. Your site is so helpful. My son Kai is 16 and has been flying since he was 14. He is soon to get his private pilots license AND graduating from high school. He is now in the same boat – or should I say “plane” you were in as a senior making college choices about schools and such. I’m so happy you have experienced so much in life already. Your future is limitless. Your family must be so proud. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us. We’d love to talk to you in person if you ever come to Orange County, California.

    • Swayne Martin

      That’s SO awesome that he’s going after his PPL … And even better that you guys are supporting him to do so. Let me know if you guys have questions as he gets more advanced in his training.


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